Derek continues to look at the steps taken for our new beginning. He explains the two experiences of the Holy Spirit: the inner work of the new birth and the outer work of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The inner work qualifies us for heaven, and the baptism is the supernatural infilling of power, equipping us for life on earth.
It’s good to be with you again at the beginning of a new week, sharing with you Keys to Successful Living which God has placed in my hand through many years of personal experience and Christian ministry.
This week I’ll be continuing with our theme from the two previous weeks: A New Beginning.
But first, let me say thank you to those of you who’ve been writing to me. Before I finish this talk, we’ll be giving you a mailing address to which you may write. It means a great deal to me to hear how this radio ministry of mine has been helping you and blessing you. So please take time to write even if it’s only a brief note.
Now back to our theme: A New Beginning.
All last week we were studying together the passage in Titus chapter 3 in which Paul unfolds in a series of logical steps the provision which God has made for each one of us to have a new beginning. I’m going to read that passage again Titus chapter 3 verses 3 through 7:
“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (NIV)
As we analyzed this passage, we saw that Paul unfolds the provision which God has made for us in a series of logical steps.
First of all, he lays bear our natural condition of need in very powerful vivid words foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved, living in malice and envy, hated and hating. And if you might feel tempted to question that description, may I suggest that you look not at the microcosm of the individual life but at the macrocosm of the world today the relationships between communities and races and nations and empires. And I think you’ll see that everything that Paul says there is exemplified again and again on the large scale of national and international relationships foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved, living in malice and envy, hated and hating one another. But thank God that’s not the end.
Then Paul moves on to God’s historical intervention through Jesus. The kindness and the love of God appeared on the stage of human history in person of Jesus. God Himself intervened and the result salvation. He saved us not because of our righteousness, not because of anything we’ve done to deserve it, but simply out of His mercy.
And then the way salvation works the results three words that are put together washing, rebirth, renewal and all of them the work of the Holy Spirit.
Today we’re going to move on to the next logical step: the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We’ll read again the words in Titus chapter 3 where this is spoken of. Beginning in verse 5 in the middle of the verse:
“He [that is God] saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.” (NIV)
I want you to see that there are two successive operations of the Holy Spirit.
First, what I call the inward, invisible change in personality and nature the washing of rebirth, renewal by the Holy Spirit. That’s a inward, miraculous change wrought by the finger of God God’s invisible finger the Holy Spirit, that reaches into the depths of the human heart and soul and touches areas that no one else can reach, not even a psychiatrist, and changes and transforms and renews.
But that is followed in God’s provision by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. So, Paul says first of all, rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Then He goes on to say whom that is the Holy Spirit He, God poured out on us generously or abundantly or freely through Jesus Christ our Savior. So in God’s provision, first of all there comes the inward renewing of rebirth, and then the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which is called in the New Testament “being clothed with supernatural power from above”. Now both these experiences are exemplified in the experience of the first Apostles, the first disciples of Jesus. Let’s look at the experience of rebirth the inward change that comes first. Here we look at the record of what took place on the resurrection Sunday, the evening of that day as Jesus appeared to His disciples. We’re reading now from John chapter 20 verses 19 through 22:
“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After He said this, He showed them His hands and side. [He demonstrated to them that He was the very one whom they had seen hanging on the cross.] The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.’ And with that He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” (NIV)
You see there for the first time, they had a direct face to face encounter with the resurrected Christ. And meeting the resurrected Christ, as I pointed out, we never stay the same. They were transformed. And the transforming agent was the Holy Spirit breathed into each of them by the Lord Jesus. They were born again that inward change of character and nature had taken place. But that was not the end of the work of the Holy Spirit.
Now I’m going to go on to the second operation of the Holy Spirit. That which I’ve described and the New Testament describes as being clothed with supernatural power. We’re going to go on to what I call Pentecost Sunday, seven weeks later.
First of all, let’s look at the promises that Jesus gave after this resurrection Sunday experience, but before the Pentecost Sunday experience in Luke 24:46 through 49, this is what we read:
“He [Jesus] told them [His disciples], ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city [that’s Jerusalem] until you have been clothed with power from on high.’” (NIV)
So Jesus said, “You’re going to be my witnesses of what took place through my death and resurrection.” But He said in effect, “You’re not ready to go out yet and be witnesses. You need this supernatural clothing with power from on high by the Holy Spirit. Wait in the city of Jerusalem until you’ve received it. I’m promising it to you on my Father’s behalf.”
And then a little further on in Acts chapter 1 verses 5 and 8, right at the end of His time together with them on earth, Jesus told His disciples this Acts 1:5:
“For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. [verse 8] You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NIV)
So there again, He renewed the promise of the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.
Then we move on to the next chapter of Acts. Acts chapter 2 and in the first four verses we read how His promise was fulfilled:
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like a blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (NIV)
That’s the description of this supernatural clothing with the power from above to be effective witnesses for Jesus for His resurrection.
Then the crowd gathered. Peter gave his discourse explaining what had taken place and he closed his discourse with these words in Acts 2:32 and 33:
“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.” (NIV)
The language that Peter used corresponds exactly to that Paul in Titus chapter 3. First of all, we’re reborn from within, and then after the rebirth the Lord Jesus pours out generously on us the Holy Spirit to equip us with supernatural power to be His witnesses. And as we read on in the record of the book of Acts, we find that this continued in ever widening circles to Samaria, to Caesarea, to Ephesus.
And so as we close, let’s just state this double purpose of these two experiences. The new birth the inner work of the Holy Spirit qualifies us for heaven, but the baptism of the Holy Spirit the supernatural clothing with power equips us for life on earth.
If we went straight to heaven after we were born again, we wouldn’t really need this supernatural clothing with power. But if we’re going to live in this earth and be witnesses for Jesus, then we need the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this same time. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing with you the next logical step in god’s provision for a new beginning: being justified.